Let’s stay home these days🌈: what better moment to find out some curiosities about our favourite dessert?
The true story of tiramisu has been the subject of contention for years. But it is certain that we look for the best tiramisu in the world every year! However, its story is also the subject of false myths: for example, some have hypothesized the birth of the dessert in Tuscany. On the occasion of the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici’s visit to Siena, a dessert was invented, later called “soup of the Duke”, whose characteristics were very similar to those of the current tiramisu. But we are told that neither mascarpone cheese nor ladyfingers were widespread in the Sienese pastry between the 17th and 18th centuries, so this hypothesis is hardly true.
However, there is one thing everyone agrees with: tiramisu was born as a popular dessert, inspired by the peasant breakfast, the one made with an egg yolk beaten with sugar, in which they soaked the biscuits to give to their children. Today tiramisu is still considered a very energising dessert: some hypotheses, in fact, imagine the birth of tiramisu even in a whorehouse!
Speaking of its characteristic ingredients, we are sure that the Original Recipe includes ladyfingers, coffee, eggs, cocoa, sugar and mascarpone cheese.
The “savoiardi” are simple biscuits (but very delicious!) with noble origins. They date back to the Savoy of the Late Middle Ages, when the cook of the Duchy prepared them in honour of a visit of the French royalty to the court of Amadeus VI.
They must have been very much appreciated, given the success that has accompanied them up to the present day!
Around the world, they are also called ladyfingers, or “fingers of lady”, or biscuit à la cuillèr, or “spoon-shaped”.
Coffee is the fundamental drink in which they dipped the ladyfingers. Did you know that the love between Italy and coffee seems to have started in Venice? During the Serenissima, in fact, the fruit of this small Ethiopian tree arrived, and then found a wide tradition in two other port cities, Naples and Trieste. Here they opened the first coffee stores, a word that derives from Arabic qahwa, which became Turkish qahvè.
All the ingredients that compose the tiramisu are chosen to give energy as well as make people happy. Among them there is of course the cocoa, which contains different chemical substances with beneficial properties for the body, and that stimulate the production of hormones such as serotonin, responsible for good mood. In many of our Competitors’ Creative Recipes, moreover, we can find chocolate in different forms, for a pinch of additional sweetness!
Going on with the sweet cream, we can’t avoid talking about the mascarpone. This dairy product, which is also a cheese, is derived from milk acidified by the cream and it shares with the tiramisu some debates about its origins, but in this case it is limited to the field of the name. In fact, it is hypothesized that mascarpone derives from the exclamation of a Spanish nobleman of the Middle Ages who, after tasting it, would have said Más que bueno!, “more than delicious”. The second hypothesis is that mascarpone comes from the Lombard dialectal word “mascherpa” or “mascarpia”, which means ricotta cheese. It is said that Napoleon, after tasting it, became very fond of this cream, so much that he took it to his banquets in Paris.
To prepare the cream, the mascarpone goes together with the eggs. Full of vitamins and mineral salts, the egg has vitamin A, E, D, B1, B2, PP and especially B12, fundamental to prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our advice is still the same: when preparing the tiramisu, pasteurize the eggs, so that you will not run into unpleasant inconveniences!
And now, the sweet ingredient par excellence: sugar! Its origins are very far from Europe. Sugar cane was probably initially cultivated in the Pacific islands. Crossing China, India and the Middle East, what was originally considered a spice arrived in Italy: it was the Arabs who promoted its cultivation on the shores of the Mediterranean.
We have to confess, we did not know all these nice pearls! Did you know all of them? 🙂